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Sunday, 24 July 2016

Snettisham RSPB & Visit to Heacham!

I was determined to get up early and arrived at the car park for Snettisham RSPB at 6.15am! It was already pretty warm and it was obvious it was going to be a mega hot day. It was nice to be out in the early morning light. I was extremely tired and the walk up to the hides, seemed to take forever. As I crossed over the sea wall to the beach, the flowers either side of the path were abundant with insect life, but hardly any butterflies of note. On that note, my mother is hugely disappointed at the lack of butterflies in her garden this year – her Buddhelia's are normally abundant with butterflies, but she's hardly seen any so far. Little Egrets were feeding in the pool, Lapwings, juv. Whitethroats flitting about in the hawthorn bushes, Linnets and lots of Pied Wagtails around today. On the mudflats there were hundreds of waders, including large numbers of Dunlin, Sanderlings, Turnstones, Oystercatchers, Black-tailed Godwits, Redshanks, Curlew, Golden Plover, Ringed Plovers, lots of gulls including 1 Med Gull and several Common and Little Terns whizzing past.

Went into the Rotary Hide, but no sign of the Caspian Tern, which was the main reason I had come to Snettisham this morning. Common Terns on the islands, along with Cormorants, Dunlins, Black-tailed Godwits etc. 6 Little Egrets lounging around on the far bank and the usual Mallards and Greylags around. Went as far as Shore Hide and then slowly made my way back. Several wonderful Mulleins lining the path to the hide. Just past the Rotary hide, I bumped into Phil (from Holme) and Chris Knights! I stopped them with chitchat for far too long – nice to catch up with them and Chris looked really well. We discussed technology, mishaps, birds and life! Several local birders turning up as I made my way back. The White-rumped Sandpiper came up on the pager before I left, but I hadn't got the energy to walk back. However, if the Caspian Tern had been found again, I would have had to struggle back! The tide was quite high on the shingle ridge now and I had wonderful views of flocks of Dunlin, Sanderling, Turnstones, Oystercatchers and a couple of Ringed Plovers feeding on the shoreline, not far from me – lovely to watch them running along the edge of the shingle as ripples of water cascaded around them.

It was boiling hot as I walked back to the car park. I don't really like carrying scope and camera, especially in hot weather, but sometimes you need both. Hit the air-conditioning button and cruised along the A149 to Mother's house at Holme. There was a massive traffic jam from the end of the Dersingham bypass, which forced me to drive into Snettisham village, through Sedgeford, Ringstead and on to Holme, which was a chilled and traffic free journey! Well, that was until I passed a massive 4x4 on the Ringstead hill, who was driving faster than me (yep!) and A. didn't want to drive next to the verge or B. slow down.

The joy of being in my parent's house in this hot weather is bliss – its always cool. Cool in the winter and cool in the summer! Mother looked tired and was getting stressed about visiting father. The cat was chilling on the sofa. We decided to visit father after lunch. We arrived at Summerville House Care Home in Heacham, just after 2pm. The residents had just had their Sunday Roast and dessert and with the heat, the majority of them were dozing in their chairs, including father. He did wake up a bit later and let me help him with his coffee.

Later we took Father outside the front of the care home in his wheelchair and sat on the bench with him, adjacent to my car. Sitting here, you are overlooking horse meadows lined by a mature hedge and telegraph wires – good birding territory! Bee-eater on the wires one day would be good, nice to dream. We gave father a raspberry trifle we had bought for him. I did a manicure and hand massage for him and we sat and chatted. It was nice to sit here, just the three of us. Mother went off to chat to a lady tending to her horses – I knew exactly why, Mother had spotted some horse manure! She returned saying all the horse manure is free (wants it for her garden). I replied 'it may well be free, but its not going in my car!' We took father back indoors at just before 5pm and left shortly after that. He looked pretty settled and well, we both thought today. The traffic leaving the coast was at a standsill as we headed home, so there would no point in me returning to King's Lynn for a good while yet.

Returned to Holme. I was going to Titchwell RSPB for a while, but was so exhausted from the last few days, I dozed on the sofa on and off and then left at about 8.30pm. I drove home in steady traffic, no queueing for me! Back to work tomorrow.

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